Big news out of the AB InBev camp this morning, as the international beverage giant announced not only its first “zero carb” beer launch in the form of Bud Light NEXT, but also its apparent intention to devastate the planet’s environment via participation in a massive NFT sale. We’d expect nothing less from a company that trumpets its sustainability goals … after all, why not completely undo whatever progress you might be making with the sale of more than 12,000 NFTs, a number likely to ultimately result in carbon emissions similar to that of a small country? Who wouldn’t want to participate in a space that artists have called an “ecological nightmare pyramid scheme?” Everything about that phrase just screams “AB InBev” to me.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself—there’s a beer to discuss here, which in no way should be overshadowed by AB InBev’s eager participation in an tech-driven ecological disaster. Bud Light NEXT is described as the company’s first “zero carb beer,” which was apparently “nearly 10 years in the making.” The company says it’s “the result of a brewing breakthrough making the impossible possible.” Really underselling it, you know. The resulting beer, pictured above, can boast 80 calories, 4% ABV, and zero carbs, with the company saying it’s pitched toward “consumers who have long desired a beer that breaks the barriers of a traditional lager and offers the sessionability and stats of a seltzer.” Sure, doesn’t sound like a gimmick at all.

The funny thing about a product like this is that its launch has to make it sound like an utterly unique proposal, but in truth the only notable thing about this particular beer is the lack of carbs. AB InBev already produces several other beers that can match Bud Light NEXT in a variety of ways, including ones that are lower in calories or ABV. Example:

Bud Light NEXT: 80 calories, 4% ABV, 0 grams carbs
Michelob Ultra: 90 calories, 4.2% ABV, 2.6 g carbs
Bud Select 55: 55 calories, 2.5% ABV, 1.9 g carbs
Bud Zero: 50 calories, 0% ABV, 11.5 g carbs

Which is to say, Bud Light NEXT is ultimately just another combination of the same familiar elements—the only “new” consumer it would reach would be someone who for whatever reason believes they need to avoid even a single carb at all costs. We can only surmise that the actual beer will likely be bone dry on the palate, and possibly even more watery and bland than Michelob Ultra, if that’s possible.

bud-light-next-inset.jpg Bud Light NEXT, the new face of NFT carbon emissions.

But now that we’ve gotten past the beer itself, we can return to discussion of the fact that AB InBev doesn’t give a shit about our ongoing climate crisis, given that they’ve simultaneously launching what they’re calling the “Bud Light N3XT Collection” of no fewer than 12,722 non-fungible tokens. These they’ll be selling for the low, low price of $399 per token, giving the sale a bottom line of somewhere around $5 million straight into AB InBev’s coffers. The company wasn’t even smart enough to dampen criticism by promising “a portion of the proceeds” to charity, or some other dodge that would help them appear anything but unabashedly greedy. But don’t worry: The NFTs are “designed with color cues from Bud Light NEXT and celebrate the passion points of today’s 21+ consumers.” That should offset the metric tons of carbon pouring into the atmosphere because of the prodigious electrical power necessary to conduct these NFT sales transactions.

If you dive through the FAQs on the Bud Light N3XT Collection website, you will eventually find a hollow promise of some kind from AB InBev, saying that they hope for the project to be “100% climate neutral” … somehow … without defining what “climate neutral” means or how this would possibly be achieved. So this is all to say, you can rest easy folks. We’re in AB InBev’s hands now, and when have they ever led anyone astray?

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